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AAA Survey: 42% Of People Less Likely To Evacuate For Hurricanes Due To Coronavirus

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SHAWN MULCAHY / WFSU

Almost half the Floridians taking part in a survey by AAA Auto Club said they're less likely to evacuate for a hurricane this season because of fears of catching the coronavirus. More than a quarter of respondents said they'll stay in their homes even if officials warn them to leave.

AAA conducted a survey last week to see how people are preparing for the 2020 hurricane season. Spokesperson Mark Jenkins explains COVID-19 could impact someone's decision to leave their home. According to the survey, about 42% of respondents are less likely to leave because of concerns about the virus.

"I think ultimately it just comes down to people staying at home when maybe the recommendation should be that they get out of harm's way. People might not be as anxious to do that. They might be more likely to stay at home and in the path of a potentially dangerous storm," Jenkins says.

His organization urges Floridians to listen to evacuation warnings. Statewide, officials have started making plans for reducing the potential spread of the coronavirus in shelters. Some ideas include using schools as shelters and keeping family groups together in classrooms.

During a press conference last month, Florida Director of Emergency Management, Jared Moskowitz, said, depending on the size of the storm that's coming, some Floridians with newer homes could be encouraged not to evacuate to minimize the number of people going to shelters.